Katie Simpson

Katie Simpson, Women's March Global Head of Operations

“I am always down to analyze an idea or a system. I love connecting with others and making them feel welcome. I throw a kickass dinner party.”

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Meet Katie Simpson. Katie is a historian, a recovering academic, and is part of the founding team of the Women’s March Global. While attending a Ph.D. program in Communications at UC San Diego, she worked at its Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, where she helped publish UCSD’s first-ever Diversity Report. You can reach Katie via email, and follow her on both LinkedIn and Twitter.

“I am always down to analyze an idea or a system. I love connecting with others and making them feel welcome. I throw a kickass dinner party.”

What Does She Do?

Katie is the Head of Operations at the Women’s March Global.

“What we do is not dictate programming. It’s helping orgs across the world — largely comprised of volunteers — do the work where they are. Helping them understand issues on a global level. Amplifying and uplifting. My job is to support us and support them. We [also] want to be as transparent as possible so that it never looks like we’re taking advantage of the labor of the people actually doing the work — on the ground and women. That’s where my job comes in. One of the reasons I’m interested in ops – not just strategy – is that those processes and procedures are where you can do horrible things, or where the magic happens.”

How Did She Get Into This Work?

“My parents have always been super involved in their community. Dad was a community police officer, he’s now Mayor of our small town in Virginia’s Loudoun County. My mom was a teacher. They both always volunteered; they still do. It’s always been in the air — that’s just what you do. I didn’t realize it until later, no one explicitly said, “you should work for a nonprofit.”’

Katie was always passionate about learning with a particular obsession with World World I. While her Master’s was in history, she decided to pivot to a Ph.D. in Communications. During her time at UCSD, she was heavily involved in diversity work on campus. As the Chair of UCSD’s Diversity Advisory Council, Katie represented the graduate student body on the Chancellor’s Committee for the Status of Women.

Just before her orals, Katie had an epiphany that she was not interested in pursuing a career as an academic.

“When I left grad school it was important to me to continue to work toward the world I wish to see: equity for all, fair and transparent institutions and organizations.”

How Did She Come to Civic Hall?

“Our colleague, Lara Stein, knew about Civic Hall through Andrew Rasiej. When I came on board she asked me to continue the conversation getting a membership here. I met with Jessica [Quinn] and immediately was excited about the space and the possibilities here.”

What Projects Is She Working On?

Women’s March Global launched just over a year ago. Katie is in the midst of helping WMG obtain its 501(c)(3) status. Next month it will facilitate the livestreaming of Womens’ Marches across the planet — beginning with New Zealand, with the help of Civic Hall’s own Collective Agency and Kathryn Jones.

“This past year we’ve been very focused on execution. With such a small team, much of our time just went to getting everything off the ground and keeping it going, supporting the community. Now we need to focus more on our message and our marketing. How do we share a brand and also distinguish our work?”

What is She Reading?

Katie has recommendations across a range of media: “The Slow Burn podcast about Watergate was a fascinating listen. Seth Godin’s Daily Newsletter always gives a little nugget to chew on. As we just passed the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, I have been ruminating on two powerful poems from that era – “Suicide in the Trenches” by Siegfried Sassoon and “Dulce Et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen. I also think it’s time to re-read Modris Eksteins’ Rites of Spring which posits that the First World War, though started by global military pacts, was a culture war.” 

What Is Her Ask of Civic Hall?

“Civic Hall has already helped us. [Former Civic Hall COO] Jessica Goldfarb is already advising us with our operations — she’s helped us grow. Yes, we poached a little bit. Also, I think we’re really learning how to talk about our organization and what we do. We soft-launched our website earlier this fall. We’re hoping that members – anyone – sign on to find each other and talk about what they’re doing. That it can be a safe space for people, despite fragmentation. Lara [Stein] was the mastermind the idea — with input from the community — which expressed a need for this kind of space. I would love to talk to people who have done this before. We don’t want to reinvent the wheel. If you have thoughts, I’d love to hear them.”

The next Women’s March will be held across the planet over the weekend of January 19-20th, where the global theme will be about violence against women. Lest we think that the rest of the year Women’s Global March goes dark, Katie points out that chapters are tireless in their organizing and have mounted some 400 events since the original 2017 march. (Women’s March Buenos Aires, for example, led a national effort this summer to pressure Senators to support abortion rights. Sadly, Argentina failed to legalize abortion.)

Women’s Global March will be hosting an event at Civic Hall on the 17th, not only exploring domestic violence in a global context but offering a makerspace for posters ahead of the D.C. March. Look for their Eventbrite!